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How to Make a Boat Wheel Cover

It’s a boater’s mindset to cover and protect anything vital on board that could be damaged by the sun. Protect your boat’s steering wheel with an easy-to-sew wheel cover. We made this cover for the wheel on our Project Powerboat. This small cover adds extra sun protection for your wheel and doesn’t use much fabric, so it’s a great way to use up leftover Sunbrella.

Our wheel cover is tensioned with a sewn-in shock cord. When not on the wheel, it resembles a canvas shower cap. It is easily stretched over the wheel and stays securely in place.

This simple project is a great way to test out some trickier sewing skills like sewing boxing on a circular shape and working with shock cord. In the video you will learn how to measure your wheel for the cover, pattern the fabric, tension the shock cord and install the cover on your boat.

Materials List:

You can find all the materials you need to cover everything on your boat at Sailrite.com.

What other kinds of small covers have you made for your boat? Share you projects & ideas in the comments!

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The time has come. We’re finishing up our full powerboat enclosure that we’ve been working on for Project Powerboat today with the aft curtain. Our aft curtain includes a zippered, roll-up door and is attached at the top to the radar arch with awning track.

The previous aft curtain on this boat attached to the radar arch via snaps. We chose to use an awning track instead because it offers a sleeker, cleaner look and is very secure. Plus, the old enclosure had some issues with water running in between the snaps when it rained, and the awning track system will prevent those issues.

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Part of the aft curtain before

This attachment system consists of the awning track attached directly to the radar arch with an awning rope running through the track. The fabric panels then attach to the awning rope with a zipper. To assemble this we first bent and installed Flex-a-Rail Awning Track to the radar arch. To get a clean look and to protect the zippers from the sun, we created a small Sunbrella flap that we attached to the flange of our Keder Awning Rope. Then we installed half of our zippers (the side with the starter pin) on the awning rope flange as well. The result is a hidden zipper and rope, which we think looks really great.

For our enclosure we used Sunbrella® Marine Grade fabric for the facings, but vinyl is also a popular option. Stamoid™ or Weblon Regatta® vinyl would both be great fabric options, if you prefer vinyl. And, as always, the principles used in this video are also applicable for sailboat enclosure projects.

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For the full tutorial and a materials/tools list, visit Sailrite.com and search #200667XHT.

This wraps up our full powerboat enclosure series, but we have more tutorials from our Project Powerboat still to come, so be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!

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Today we’re back working on the full boat enclosure for our Project Powerboat. The next piece in the puzzle is the front curtain. The front curtain on our boat will attach to the side curtains with zippers and then snap across the front, along the top of the windshield. Let’s take a closer look at how these curtain panels come together.

Our front curtain is actually made up of three panels that are all attached at the top to the bimini by one long zipper. Our curtain is made up of three panels because our boat has a door in the center of the windshield, so we made the center panel of the enclosure to roll up to allow easy access through the door. The roll up window features webbing straps to keep it in place and Velcro flaps to protect the zippers that run on either side of the roll up panel. We cover how to make all of these accessories in the video.

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The old front curtain

As we did for the side curtains, we made the front panel out of 30 gauge O’Sea® clear vinyl trimmed with Sunbrella® Marine Grade facing with a Shelter-Rite® backing.

We’ll teach you how to install a zipper to your bimini top, pattern for your panels on your boat, sew facing and zippers, make Velcro zipper closure flaps, and install snaps along the bottom of the curtain.

You can find the full tutorial video and all the materials needed to make your own enclosure front curtains (and all your other enclosure panels) at Sailrite.com by searching #200663XHT.

Don’t miss out, we have even more great powerboat projects coming out in the next few months be sure to subscribe to the blog and get every post delivered right to your inbox!

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Brian installing Flex-a-Rail Awning Track to the radar arch of our powerboat

Awning track is a great way to attach fabric to a hard surface on your boat. It can be used for adding enclosure curtains to hardtop biminis, attaching the front of dodgers or for hanging awnings. Many of these applications require the awning track to be able to bend and curve. Today, we’re going to show you how to bend awning track for your application and how to install it.

For our powerboat, we needed to add awning track to the aft side of the radar arch to attach the enclosure’s aft curtain. We decided to use awning track as opposed to snaps, because the track gives a smooth, finished look and is watertight.

We used Flex-a-Rail awning track for this application. Since this awning track is already created to take a slight bend, it makes it easier to create a sharper curve with it as well. As you’ll see in the video, we used a heat gun to make the awning track extra flexible so we can bend it into our desired shape. Be sure you’re ready to act quickly when the awning track is heated, because it will harden again as it cools.

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Heating the Flex-a-Rail to create a bend

For the full list of materials and the full tutorial video, visit Sailrite.com.

Have you used awning track on your boat? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

To accompany your powerboat’s new bimini, we’re going to outline how to make a full boat enclosure, piece by piece. Full enclosures around your cockpit can make your boat feel secure in inclement weather or when you’re away. Today we’re going to take a closer look at how to create the enclosure side curtains.

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Finished side curtain

The configuration and set up of enclosures is going to be different for every type of boat. Sometimes it takes a bit of creativity to figure out the best way to get all your enclosures pieces attached. Careful patterning and consideration of what you want and how you use your boat will help you to get the best configuration. We’re demonstrating on a powerboat, but the principles can be applied for a sailboat, too. For our powerboat, the side curtains will attach to your bimini at the top and snap directly to your boat at the aft and bottom edges. The front edge of the side panels will attach to the front curtain, which we’ll make in a later step.

If you have a canvas bimini top, the first step for creating your side panels is to add a zipper to your bimini top fabric. If you have a hard top, you’ll want to use awning track and rope or fasteners to attach your side panels. We’ll show you how to install awning track in our next video.

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View of old side curtain

After you have made a careful pattern, you can transfer your pattern to your clear vinyl. For this project we used a 30 gauge vinyl. We chose O’Sea® vinyl because it is UV, scratch and chemical resistant and has excellent clarity. When sewing with your clear vinyl, you’ll want to be careful to not scratch it.

For the full video and materials list, visit Sailrite.com and search #200661XHT.

Do you have a full enclosure on your boat? Did you have the panels customized to your boat and how you use it? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

On Tuesday we introduced you to our powerboat a 29-foot, 2002 Maxum 2900 SCR. Today we’re going to dive into our first project on this boat—replacing the bimini.

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The bimini top on our powerboat is what’s known as an “attached bimini” because its aft end is attached to a solid surface (in this case a radar arch) as opposed to being completely supported by tubing bows. An all tubing bimini would be called an unattached bimini. The steps in this video can be used to make an attached or unattached powerboat bimini or a sailboat bimini.

Careful and precise patterning is the building block to getting a great fitting bimini top. We thoroughly cover the patterning process in our video to help you get professional looking results.

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Bimini Before

The existing bimini on our powerboat had a lot of wrinkling so we decided to make the new bimini using some different techniques to get a better fit. One of the biggest design changes we made is that instead of seaming the fabric panels forward to aft, as is typical, we seamed our fabric panels port to starboard. This method does require using more fabric, but we believe that it creates a much better fitting bimini top and one that will wrinkle less over time.

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Bimini Before

Another design decision we made was adding a pocket to the front of the bimini to better accommodate the angle of the front tubing. This extra pocket helps keep the bimini top taut. To add extra water protection at the aft, attached end, we also sewed on weather stripping to create a watertight seal against the radar arch.

We get asked a lot if the zippers for side curtains need to be installed when building your bimini top. You can install the zippers if you’re ready for that step, but if you’re not, don’t worry. They can easily be added later. We did not install zippers in this video, but we’ll show you how to do it in our Enclosure Side Curtains Video.

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Inside of bimini after

For the full video and materials list visit Sailrite.com and search #200660XHT.

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Outside after

What do you think of our design decisions? Would you try them on your boat? Have you ever made your own bimini? What tips would you share on the process? Share your ideas and suggestions in the comments!

We’ve been doing a lot of growing over here at Sailrite and one of the areas we’re expanding is projects for powerboats. So when we had the opportunity to re-do some canvaswork on a powerboat, we jumped at the chance. And, of course, we filmed some great how-to videos along the way to share with you. So, meet our project powerboat: a 29-foot, 2002 Maxum 2900 SCR.

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The canvas on this boat had a few issues we wanted to be sure to address and correct with our next design. For example, the bimini was wrinkled, the aft curtain on the enclosure wasn’t keeping water out of the cockpit when it rained, and the clear vinyl on the enclosure panels had been scorched in a few places from contact with the metal support poles. We came up with great solutions to these common issues and we’ll be breaking them down step-by-step in our videos.

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Be sure to subscribe to the blog (if you haven’t already!) so you don’t miss a project!

What projects need done on your powerboat? Which ones would you like to see us do a video on next? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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